Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Below-average harvest is predicted for second year
FARMERS who battled the elements to ensure the English wheat crop survived the torrid weather of 2012/13 have achieved a high-quality but small harvest – despite good harvesting conditions.
The North-East region is on course to deliver well below the five-year average for the second year running and the NFU has called on the Government to deliver its promises to improve long-neglected agricultural research and knowledge to help weather-proof British crops.
Brett Askew, NFU regional crops board chairman, said a reverse in the decline of spending on agricultural research and development was crucial to increase production and impact less on the environment in years to come.
He said: “Innovation and technology are vital in keeping crops healthy and resilient, yet this technology has been under a sustained and unwarranted attack recently, and the impacts could be grave for the industry.
“The last thing we want is for legislators to regulate the UK and EU out of arable production by undermining access to pesticides and products that will be vital to protect the crops of the future.”
The NFU’s 2013 Harvest Survey has revealed that the overall national wheat yield was up 16 per cent on 2012, at 7.8 tonnes per hectare, and slightly up on the five-year average of 7.7 tonnes per hectare. However, total production is likely to be much lower than the 13 million tonnes produced last year.
Mr Askew said the situation in the North-East was more challenging, with most farmers experiencing lower yields than last year, largely due to the high percentage of spring crops that had to be planted.
As a result he expects the UK will import above-normal volumes of wheat for the second year running.
“Local farmers worked really hard to get this year’s crop up and running, but the wheat area planted was much reduced – by 19 per cent nationally,”
“So while our harvest is better than anticipated, it comes as no surprise that overall our wheat production will be significantly down, given that drilling conditions were so difficult.”
Comments are closed on this article.